Almost three weeks after Bristol Green Councillors raised the possibility of the Council’s consultation on cuts to the council tax reduction scheme potentially being illegal, the Council has responded.
In August Green councillors argued that the consultation could be illegal as it provided the public with no real choice between three different cuts proposals, citing a Supreme Court ruling that found Haringey Council’s consultation was illegal for this reason. They also raised the unfairness of proposed cuts, which would see the poorest households in the city face steep tax increases. Recent studies have suggested that removing council tax support may end up costing councils more in the long run due to decreased collection rates.
Today it was confirmed that the Council plans to continue the consultation as is. The Mayor suggested that the consultation text in its current form is sufficient to explain why the Council has proposed the cuts and it does not need to offer citizens a ‘no cuts’ option.
Green Group leader Councillor Eleanor Combley said the Greens were disappointed with the Mayor’s response, saying:
“I am surprised that Marvin has decided to press ahead with the consultation in its current form – I would have thought there were clear similarities between Bristol and Haringey in this case and ending (or at least re-launching) this consultation would be prudent. I hope this is not going to lead to a lot of money wasted defending a legal case, but whether this consultation covers the bare legal minimum or not, I think there is a clear moral argument for giving the people of Bristol a genuine choice to protect the poorest in the city. Consultations such as this could be an opportunity for genuine democratic engagement with citizens and not merely pay lip-service to the idea.”
Councillor Eleanor Combley
Bristol City Council